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Reds Are Dodgers' Final Test

Clayton Kershaw takes the mound on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball

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Dodgers Face Final Playoff Test In Reds

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Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers takes on Homer Bailey and the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

The Dodgers sat every starter in Colorado, and then had an off day Thursday as they prepared to face the Cincinnati Reds for a three-game series starting Friday. In what is likely to be their last real test before the playoffs, the Dodgers will be playing their starters and throwing their aces to prove their postseason worth to the rest of the league.

The Dodgers are 16-6 since Aug. 12, but in those 22 games only three were played against a playoff contender. They lost two of three games to the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox and were held to just five runs in that series. 

The Dodgers will look to redeem themselves against the Reds, a lock for the NL Wild Card. Since the All-Star break, LA has won 11 of 16 games against potential playoff teams, including three wins in four games against Cincinnati near the end of July.

Chris Capuano will start off the series for the Dodgers, facing Mike Leake. Capuano came out strong in his last outing giving up one run over seven innings, but in the four starts prior he was shelled for 14 earned runs in 19.1 innings.

Hyun-Jin Ryu would have gotten the start Friday, but he was scratched with mild back stiffness, another reason why the Dodgers used Edinson Volquez on Wednesday in Colorado.

Zack Greinke takes the mound Saturday against Matt Latos in a game that will be nationally televised on Fox. Greinke was given the award for NL Pitcher of the Month for August with a 5-0 record, and 1.23 ERA. He gave up just five runs on 28 hits in 36.2 innings pitched with 30 strikeouts in August.

Clayton Kershaw finishes the series off versus Homer Bailey under the lights of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. Bailey has done one thing that Kershaw has never been able to pull off: throw a no-hitter. Bailey tossed one in July against the Giants, and that was his second of his career.

However, Kershaw is by far the superior pitcher and with every start you have to feel that he has a chance of no-hitting an opponent. He has not been sharp in his last two outings, combining for just 10.2 innings pitches with 18 hits and six earned runs, but in the two starts before that he pitched back-to-back eight-inning shutouts.

So the weekend series with the Reds is set as the Dodgers prepare to face their final playoff-bound opponent. They enter the series 12 games over the Diamondbacks with a magic number of 12, and are two games away from eliminating the Giants from the NL West race.

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